Christchurch Harbour Ringing Station – Ringing News 2009


Dec 22nd
News just received of 2 more interesting recoveries. A Danish ringed Black-headed Gull was recently seen and photographed by Darren Hughes on 16 November (see photo below).

Black-headed Gull Nov 2009 - Darren Hughes
Black-headed Gull Nov 2009 - Darren Hughes
The left tarsus shows the metal ring beginning '6' - see Recoveries Page for full details.

From the recently published BTO Recoveries Report, we have details of one of Eds' Sedge Warblers turning up in Spain. Less than 20 BTO-ringed Sedge Warblers have been recovered from Spain. Full details on the Recoveries Page.

Nov 9th
I went to look for some 'crests this afternoon around the Nursery. I also took some habitat photos - see here for my results.

Nov 1st
I have now updated the ringing totals up till the end of October, see totals .

Oct 30th
I have recently received an excellent guide to identifying White Wagtails, kindly submitted by Iain Livingstone, a Scottish Ringer. The guide is mostly aimed at us Ringers but all ornithologists should find it useful. Go to the features page to view.

Oct 29th
A very mild morning at the HHC resulted in a poor catch of only 9 birds. A further 3 lesser redpolls were caught as well as a single chiffchaff and a retrap great spotted woodpecker. The morning was brightened-up by the appearance of a kingfisher flying around the HHC building and 2 ravens 'cronking' overhead.

Last night's alba roost attempt resulted in zero birds - I only saw 2 birds go into the reedbed so they must have either found another roost site or departed our shores.

Oct 26th
A bit of a "finch-fest" at the HHC today in very balmy conditions. We managed 9 greenfinches,4 goldfinches and 7 lesser redpolls in a total of 29 birds. My goldfinch total for the year has now shot-up to 5! Only 2 chiffchaffs were trapped which just about signifies the end of the warbler migration for 2009.

Goldfinch juvenile male HHC Kevin Sayer

Oct 18th
We finally managed a couple of lesser redpolls this morning at the HHC. A very chilly start resulted in only 22 birds but we did achieve 7 chiffchaffs and a blackcap.

We have now received details of the colour-ringed pied wagtail trapped on the evening of 14 October. See recoveries page for full details.

Lesser Redpoll Juvenile Male HHC Kevin Sayer

Oct 17th
The current series of spring-tides meant a very low-tide as I looked across the Harbour this evening. I could have put my waders on and walked across to Stanpit! The overcast conditions resulted in about 100+ alba wagtails coming into the HHC Reedbed roost. I managed to trap 32 of them.

Oct 16th
Another damp and breezy morning at the HHC with the cold northerly wind doing nobody any favours. A smallish catch of just 15 birds resulted of which the highlights were yet another 2 continental-type blackbirds. A further 5 chiffchaffs and 2 blackcaps were also trapped which shows that migration hasn't quite finished yet.

In the evening roost yet another 20 alba birds were trapped. All juveniles!

Blackbird juvenile female HHC Oct 09 Kevin Sayer
Isn't this the oddest looking blackbird you've ever seen?

Oct 15th
Tonight the alba roost made a creditable total of 13 birds. Unfortunately, no controls this time but still the birds keep coming. Hopefully, they will use the HHC reedbed for a few more evenings yet before we have to put our poles and nets away for another year.

Oct 14th
Yet again the HHC alba roost was visited this evening. This time only 9 birds were caught but it did include a re-trapped BTO colour-ringed bird. When I receive further details of said bird I will publish them here.

Oct 13th
As expected a very chilly start greeted us at the HHC today. However, after a slow beginning we did manage a total of 44 birds, the highlights being 13 chiffchaffs,2 blackcaps,3 cetti's warblers and 2 "continental" looking blackbirds. A juvenile female goldfinch was also trapped which just happens to be my first for CHRS in 2009!

Blackbird juvenile male HHC Kevin Sayer
Although not that obvious in this shot the bird has white edges to its breast feathers - almost ring-ouzel like.

Oct 12th
The HHC alba roost tonight yielded a further 19 birds along with 2 blue tits one of which was an un-ringed adult male. As the sun went down so did the temperature - I expect a rather chilly start tomorrow morning!

Oct 11th
In rather damp and drizzly conditions this morning we managed, with just 4 nets, a creditable 29 birds. The highlight being our first ever control for Cetti's Warbler. We won't know where it was originally ringed for some time yet, but my guess, as we are currently experiencing strong westerly winds, it's come from somewhere west of us - Radipole,Abbotsbury or perhaps even Slapton are possible locations. We will publish full details as soon as we get them from the BTO Ringing Office. We also managed a further 14 chiffchaffs including one I first caught in last night's roost. Our local recorder expressed some surprise at the number of Cetti's Warblers we are currently trapping - far in excess of the number known to breed locally. So we must be getting a few from further afield. In the alba roost tonight I managed a further 22 birds as well as a very "foreign-looking" female blackbird just as I was about to go home!

Pied Wagtail juvenile HHC Oct 2009 Kevin Sayer
Pied Wagtail juvenile HHC Oct 2009 Kevin Sayer
I finally managed to get a sharpish image of a Pied Wagtail - even with the help of a bit of flash! The majority of birds we are catching are juveniles. However, in the twilight it is sometimes difficult to distinguish some birds and we have to leave them un-sexed.

Oct 10th
The HHC reedbed was the site for an attempt at the alba roost tonight. Around 80 birds came into the reedbed to roost and I managed to catch 14 of them. All but one were juveniles and not a sign of a white wagtail amongst them. As I was waiting for things to happen a kingfisher flew past the HHC and the local woodpecker population headed off to the Nursery to roost. You can almost set your watch by them!

Oct 8th
A rather chilly start in the northerly breeze at the HHC resulted in a reasonable catch of 30 birds. Attempts were made for passing redpoll with no success but we did trap 15 chiffchaffs. Blackcaps are still passing thru' but we only managed another 4.

Oct 4th
News received today of a colour-ringed black-tailed godwit seen on Stanpit Marsh on 18 Sept this year. It was originally ringed as a chick in Iceland earlier this summer. See Recoveries page for more details. The year-to-date ringing totals have now been updated 'til the end of September - see Features page.

Sept 21st
A very pleasant late summer's morning allowed us to capture a total of 51 birds which included a few different species to the norm. A kingfisher in the HHC reedbed was quickly followed by a juvenile male stonechat in the same net-ride. The stonechat (see photo below) was in partial wing moult which at first confused me as to its age. Yet a further 3 cetti's warblers were also caught. A total of 14 blackcaps were trapped along with only 5 chiffchaffs. Acro warblers are still trickling through.

Kingfisher juvenile HHC Kevin Sayer
Stonechat Juvenile Male HHC Kevin Sayer
Cetti's Warbler HHC Kevin Sayer

Sept 19th
The northerly breeze probably kept the numbers down today at the HHC although we still managed 53 birds. However, our third lesser whitethroat for the year was trapped along with a good sprinkling of common migrants. A total of 14 chiffchaffs was not unexpected but we are still managing a healthy number of acro warblers. We also trapped a song thrush which was in full wing moult (see photos & comments below). Another 2 cetti's warblers were also caught which I cannot confidently state are local birds.

Lesser Whitethroat HHC Kevin Sayer
Song Thrush Un-aged HHC Kevin Sayer
Song Thrush Un-aged HHC Kevin Sayer

Song Thrush Un-aged HHC Kevin Sayer
This bird is in obvious wing-moult so was initially aged as an adult. However, the bird is also showing some juvenile characteristics which have subsequently caused some confusion. The pale tips to the greater coverts are larger than you would expect to see on an adult and the orange-brown edges to the primary coverts indicate a juvenile bird. The head shot shows some juvenile feathering in the ear coverts and throat areas and the outer-most greater covert is a diffferent colour to the rest. The tail photo shows narrow feathers and some hooks to the tips - another juvenile characteristic. The Ringing Scheme does allow us to indicate the bird as un-aged so this is what will go into the records.

Sept 17th
Another blustery day at the HHC which certainly affected the catch, but nevertheless we managed 22 birds. The highlights were 2 woodpeckers; a juvenile green woodpecker and a juvenile great spotted woodpecker. Other birds included 11 chiffchaffs,2 sedge warblers,2 blackcaps and 2 reed warblers. Thanks to Sarah for giving me a hand.

Green Woodpecker Juvenile Female HHC Kevin Sayer
Note how the bird uses its powerful tail as a support. That's my shadow in shot!
Great Spotted Woodpecker Juvenile HHC Kevin Sayer

Sept 13th
The CHOG Member's Day included another Ringing Demonstration at the HHC which was well attended. We managed 54 birds in all which included 14 sedge warblers,7 reed warblers,4 blackcaps,3 chiffchaffs,2 whitethroats and 2 cetti's warblers. The strong breeze considerably reduced the catch but still a good haul. Thanks to Colin for his help.

Sept 12th
Yet another attempt at trying to catch yellow wagtails coming to roost failed miserably. However, a large flock of swallows came over the HHC just as I was about to pack-up so I switched the tape over to hirundines. The flock responded well and soon I had several birds in the net. I managed 16 swallows in the end out of a possible 4-500 or so!

Sept 11th
The cold north-easterly winds meant a chilly start in the Wick Reedbed. It also meant an early finish due to the blustery conditions. However, we managed a reasonable catch of 33 birds which included 10 blackcaps,10 sedge warblers,4 reed warblers,2 chiffchaffs,1 cetti's warblers and 2 reed buntings (see photo below). All the birds were juveniles - no surprise there - except the cetti's which is difficult to age accurately at this time of year as adults do a complete moult so look very similar to fresh juveniles.

Reed Bunting Juvenile Male Wick Reedbed Sept 2009 Kevin Sayer

Sept 9th
The breezy northerly winds meant an early finish and also the number of chiffchaffs trapped was a lot lower than expected. However, we still managed a good mix of migrants which included yet another garden warbler and a cetti's warbler (only my 6th this year). The odd adult whitethroat is also still being trapped but it is good to note that blackcap numbers are still on the way up and acro warblers are still coming through. The total haul at the HHC today was 49 birds.

Sept 6th
The number of chiffchaffs trapped today (17) exceeded any other species which shows how the species range fluctuates at this time of year. A total of 65 birds were caught which included my first-ever grasshopper warbler trapped within the CHOG recording area. Other birds included 11 sedge warblers,9 reed warblers,8 blackcaps,6 whitethroats,1 garden warbler, and a single willow warbler. Thanks to 2 visiting ringers,Chris and Denise, for giving me a hand.

Grasshopper Warbler HHC Sept 09 Kevin Sayer

Chiffchaff HHC Sept 09 Kevin Sayer

Reed Warbler Juvenile HHC Sept 09 Kevin Sayer
Its not often you see such a good example of growth bars on the tail of a juvenile reed warbler. This indicates that the bird has grown all its tail feathers at the same rate. This is one of the features you can use to age such a bird.

Aug 31st
I have updated the CHRS Ringing Totals upto 31st August 2009 see totals .

Aug 28th
We received news today of a colour-ringed sanderling seen at Stanpit on 12th August 2009, originally ringed in Ghana. Thanks go to Jimmy Main for getting the photo and Greg Lambe for finding out the history of this bird. See cr-sanderling for full details.

Aug 25th

Heavy showers caught us out this morning but we still managed 19 birds once the sun came out. Sylvia warblers are certainly now arriving in good numbers with a further 7 whitethroats and 4 blackcaps trapped. Thanks to Andrew and Louise for again helping me out.

Aug 22nd
Annoying short sharp showers from dawn spoilt an interesting day which resulted in the capture of my first lesser whitethroat and spotted flycatcher for the year. Last evening we managed our first yellow wagtail for the year also. In total we managed 28 birds which also included another meadow pipit and yet another adult whitethroat.

Spotted Flycatcher juvenile HHC Aug 2009 Kevin Sayer
Lesser Whitethroat juvenile HHC Aug 2009 Kevin Sayer
Yellow Wagtail juvenile HHC Aug 2009 Kevin Sayer

Aug 18th
Another visit to Wick Reedbed resulted in an excellent catch of 71 birds which included 40 sedge warblers,22 reed warblers,1 blackcap,2 whitethroats and a chiffchaff. One of the whitethroats was an adult, unusual in that most have all departed by now, which had completed its post-breeding moult (see photo below). Also, I have now reached my target of 1000 newly ringed birds for 2009 - a special thanks must go to the CHOG committee for paying for my rings!

Whitethroat Adult Wick Reedbed Aug 2009 Kevin Sayer
Note all primaries and secondaries have been replaced with new feathers. However, one of the tertials (leftmost) appears very worn and looks suspisciously like an old feather.The alula has a whitish edge - all (almost) as per the textbooks!

Aug 14th
Another mixed bag of warblers at the HHC today included within the catch of 35 birds. A slight increase in acro warblers but also including another garden warbler. On the Features page I have put some photos which show the differences in the wings of both adult/juvenile reed & sedge warblers - see acro wings .

Aug 12th
The number of acro warblers now appears to be dropping off but the good news is that sylvia warblers are on the increase. With 9 whitethroats trapped today and 3 blackcaps including an adult whitethroat, migration is still in full swing. We also caught a juvenile meadow pipit in the HHC reedbed of all places!

Aug 10th
I decided to open just 2 nets this morning but I still managed another 27 birds. Only 8 sedge warblers this time but an unexpected bonus was the capture of 4 juvenile garden warblers. What I believe was my first autumn migrant blackcap for 2009 was also trapped today - a young male.

Garden Warbler juvenile HHC Chris Chapleo
Sedge Warbler juvenile HHC Kevin Sayer

Aug 8th
The "sedgies" keep on coming! Another bumper day at the HHC with 62 more trapped & ringed. Also caught were 11 reed warblers, 2 willow warblers and 5 whitethroats.

Aug 6th
The Wick reedbed was worked for the first time this autumn and a good catch of 82 birds was made. A total of 49 sedge warblers were caught along with 24 reed warblers. However, other highlights were a juvenile kingfisher and a juvenile cetti's warbler.

Kingfisher juvenile Wick Reedbed Aug 2009 Kevin Sayer

Aug 2nd
With the help of Steve Christmas we managed another good haul at the HHC. A total of 159 birds which included 104 sedge warblers,18 reed warblers,14 greenfinches,10 willow warblers,2 whitethroats,1 blackcap and finally 1 garden warbler! Two of the sedge warblers were re-traps from last Friday's session and both had put on weight. The garden warbler was only my second ever at CHRS - hopefully we will now get a few more.

Garden Warbler juvenile HHC Aug 2009 Kevin Sayer
Willow Warbler juvenile HHC Aug 2009 Kevin Sayer

Aug 1st
I have updated the CHRS Ringing Totals upto 31st July 2009 see totals .

July 31st
The first dry wind-free morning for so long I can't remember resulted in a not unexpected excellent catch of 113 birds at the HHC. The sedge warbler migration carries on at pace with 56 birds trapped and not a single retrap! The reed warblers are coming through in good numbers too with 20 birds caught, 7 of which were retraps, some had good reserves of fat. Another 10 reed buntings trapped - all juveniles which re-confirms their good breeding season. Just a handful of other migrants trapped which infers the main sylvia and phylloscopus migration is yet to get underway.

July 30th
With the help of Tim Christmas we managed two sites this morning. I covered the Nursery carrying out the 10th CES visit there, but I could only muster 2 birds! Although one of them was a juvenile treecreeper (see photo below). Tim did better at the HHC with 13 birds which included a juvenile lesser whitethroat (see photo below). I have had news of the second colour-ringed bird that Alan Hayden photographed last Monday evening. Click here for more details.

Treecreeper juvenile Nursery Kevin Sayer
Lesser Whitethroat juvenile HHC Tim Christmas

July 29th
News today of a colour-ringed black-headed gull seen and photographed on 27th July by Alan Hayden. Click here for more details.

July 26th
Today was the Environmental Day at the HHC for which we ran a Ringing Demo. As usual we had the nets up from pre-dawn and we managed a good haul even before the first visitors arrived. Plenty of interest was shown by all who attended and hopefully they all went away with a bit more knowledge about bird-ringing and bird-migration. In the end we managed 71 birds in total - not bad with just 4 net-rides - which included 31 reed warblers, 13 sedge warblers,5 chiffchaffs and a couple of whitethroats with a solitary willow warbler also. Thanks to Louise and Andrew for coming down from Salisbury to lend a hand and also to Tim & Barry.

Ringing Demonstration HHC July 2009 Mark Andrews
Youngster lending a hand HHC Mark Andrews
Reed Warbler HHC July 2009 Alan Crockard

July 23rd
Today at Solent Meads, during rather damp conditions, we managed a further 26 birds. The best were 5 whitethroats (all juveniles), 4 blackcaps (all juveniles) and 2 chiffchaffs (1 adult and 1 juvenile). We also managed 2 juvenile cetti's warblers which are the first fledged birds caught this year. Thanks to Jackie and Ben for their efforts.

July 20th
In contrast to last saturday's poor show, today at the HHC was a complete contrast. A total of 83 birds were trapped which included 32 reed warblers, 9 reed buntings, 6 sedge warblers and 12 greenfinches. A solitary willow warbler and 2 chiffchaffs were also caught which indicates that autumn migration has started. Several of the reed & sedge warblers had significant fat reserves which infers they are on their way back to winter quarters.

Willow Warbler juvenile HHC July 2009 Kevin Sayer
presumably a migrant passing thru'

Reed Bunting adult male HHC July 2009 Kevin Sayer
this bird was in full moult following no doubt a successful breeding season

July 18th
The 8th CES visit to the Nursery resulted in a very poor return with only 7 birds! No doubt due to the very windy conditions and post-breeding dispersal of most of the local birds. Yet another woodpigeon was trapped which enlivened an otherwise dull day.

July 14-15
I had allocated 2 days to get all the reedbed net-rides re-cut for the forthcoming autumn season; and I certainly needed them. The photo below shows me in the HHC reedbed posing for the camera complete with all the necessary safety gear! It was hot and sweaty work and I must confess to having the ocassional mid-afternoon snooze. I was awoken by a sedge warbler singing nearby - better than any alarm clock! The other photo shows an un-identified flying insect which I came across in the reeds. Hopefully, the birds will find them appetising.

Net-ride cutting July 2009 Kevin Sayer

Un-identified flying insect HHC Reedbed July 2009 Kevin Sayer
we think this is a black-tipped soldier beetle - anyone think different?

July 4th
A reasonable productive session at Solent Meads resulted in a catch of 33 birds without a single retrap. Not surprising really considering we haven't visited the site for over a month. Nothing out of the ordinary but a juvenile male blackcap which had completed its post-juvenile moult was un-expected. I had to be sure it wasn't an adult but all the signs pointed to it being a juvenile. Good numbers of juvenile robins - some almost in full adult plumage. All the migrants trapped were local breeders - no signs yet of any passerine migrants on the move. Thanks to Barry,Carol and Jackie for their help.

July 1st
We're now over halfway through the Nursery CES project for 2009 and visit number 7 strangely resulted in only 14 birds. The adult female green woodpecker was re-trapped yet again (see below) along with another woodpigeon (see photo of release below). The rest of the birds were a mix of resident and breeding migrants. As we were setting-up a nightjar flew low over the wood. Thanks to Barry, Carol and Ben for their help.

This is me releasing the adult woodpigeon - captured well by Ben Stoney

Whitethroat adult male Kevin Sayer
The blue-grey crown indicates it is a male and the contrast between the iris and pupil indicates an adult bird.

June 22nd
CES Visit Number 6 was completed today in the Nursery. A slightly smaller catch than last time but nevertheless not too bad. The local woodpeckers appeared to be having a good breeding season with both green and greater spotted families being seen in the wood. We managed to re-trap the adult female green wodpecker from CES-4 along with presumably 2 of its offspring (see photo below). Also my first juvenile whitethroat for 2009 was also trapped this morning. A total of 24 birds were caught - some photos of the catch are below.

Green Woodpecker Juvenile Nursery June 2009 Kevin Sayer
Whitethroat Juvenile Nursery June 2009 Kevin Sayer
Wren Juvenile Nursery June 2009 Kevin Sayer

June 19th
The adult male greenfinch trapped at the Nursery on 16 June (see photo below) was originally ringed at the HHC on 20 April 2004. Thanks to Ed Brett for this information.

June 16th
After a 4am start another good catch in the Nursery resulted in 38 birds. Several juvenile blackcaps and a juvenile chiffchaff amongst those trapped. One adult male blackcap trapped had been caught at the HHC as a juvenile last September. One must presume it has returned to its natal site. Thanks to Ben for his help. Some photos below of various birds caught.

Juvenile Robin Kevin Sayer
Adult Female Chaffinch Kevin Sayer
Adult Male Greenfinch Kevin Sayer
Juvenile Great Tit Kevin Sayer

June 4th
Ed Brett (CHOG Ringing Secretary) informs me that the green woodpecker trapped on 2nd June (see below) was originally ringed at the HHC on 3 Sept.2005. See recoveries .

June 2nd
The latest CES session in the Nursery resulted in the best catch to-date with 26 birds in total. The highlight being a retrap adult female green woodpecker (see photo below). The first batch of young blue & great tits are now on the wing and I managed a few in the nets (see photo below). As I was taking the nets down a woodpigeon decided to fly into a net - wonderful! A retrap adult female blackcap was originally ringed at the HHC last August.

Adult female Green Woodpecker June 2009 Kevin Sayer
....probably ringed locally but you never know!

Juvenile Blue Tit June 2009 Kevin Sayer
........what a cutie!

May 28th
Today we visited the Solent Meads site and were rewarded with a good catch of 30 birds. Quite a few retraps but that's not such a bad thing! The usual mix of common migrants were trapped along with several of the local breeding residents. The first juvenile tits appeared, long-tailed tits, along with a juvenile dunnock. However, still no juvenile great or blue tits so they are definitely a bit late this year - well around here anyway. Thanks again to Annalea and Elaine for lending a hand (see photo below).

Ringing Team in action at Solent Meads Kevin Sayer
...just look at all the paraphernalia we need to go ringing - table, chairs, rings, pliers, weighing scales, and most important of all my flask of coffee!

Juvenile Long-tailed Tit Solent Meads Kevin Sayer
Adult Male Blackbird Solent Meads Kevin Sayer
Adult Robin Solent Meads Kevin Sayer

May 23rd
The new Wick Reedbed site was used today for the first time. A total of 29 birds were caught including several breeding common migrants. A retrap female reed warbler turned out to have been ringed last July during the Ringing Demo at the HHC.It is re-assuring to see our reedbed being home to several breeding reed and sedge warblers, as breeding numbers have been down in recent years. Around 6am a bank of mist rolled in off the sea making the reedbed a very spooky place! Fortunately it wasn't long before the sun broke through again. Shortly after, a cuckoo was heard calling near to the HHC - only my second this year. So far this year we have seen many reed buntings in and around the reedbed, another 3 trapped today, as well as good numbers of greenfinches - 28 already caught this year.

Adult Sedge Warbler Wick Reedbed May 2009 Kevin Sayer

Adult Reed Warbler Wick Reedbed May 2009 Kevin Sayer

May 20th
The second CES session in the Nursery went better than the first. A total of 18 birds was an improvement which included blackcaps and a chiffchaff. No juveniles were caught but the signs are promising for a fruitful breeding season with many females with pronounced brood patches. News came through from the BTO today concerning the bearded tit which appeared on Stanpit last January. With the help of some clever computer image software they came up with a legible ring number. The bird was ringed at RSPB Radipole in Weymouth in July 2007 as a juvenile. Thanks to Alan Hayden for his persistence in getting some decent images and to Mark Grantham at the BTO. Just goes to show you don't always have to catch the bird to get the ring number!

Adult Male Bearded Tit at Stanpit Marsh January 2009 Alan Hayden

May 10th
Today we managed to run two sites with the help of Shaun Robson and Sean Walls from Stour RG who covered the HHC site. With the help of Carol and Elaine I did Solent Meads. Between us we managed 38 birds which is a commendable total for this time of year. The first juvenile birds are now being trapped especially song thrushes and greenfinches. Both sites managed a male reed bunting each - we only seem to trap these birds during the breeding season - where do they go over the winter months? One theory is they travel up the Stour and Avon Valleys.

Adult Male Reed Bunting Solent Meads Kevin Sayer

May 6th
The first Constant Effort Site (CES) visit was completed today in the Nursery. Unfortunately, we could only manage 11 birds of which the first was a non-breeding female mallard! I released it into the harbour and it was last seen being chased by 2 amorous drakes towards Mudeford. The remaining catch were all resident passerines apart from a female whitethroat. Let's hope for better luck next time. Thanks to Andrew for coming down from Salisbury to help out.

May 3rd
A Ringing Demo was organised to co-incide with the CHOG Members' Day. We trapped a varied species list which hopefully showed all who attended what bird ringing is all about. The Woodpigeon was a bit unexpected - I'm just glad it didn't make a big hole in the mist-net! Thanks to Shaun and Terry for coming over from Poole to help out along with Ed,Carol, Elaine & Annalea of course. A total of 19 birds were caught including a female meadow pipit from the Barn Field.

Shaun Robson processing the woodpigeon Kevin Sayer
Female Blackcap Jean Southworth

May 1st
My first session since returning from Cyprus resulted in the capture of a Spanish-ringed Reed Warbler at the HHC . As soon as we receive details of when & where the bird was originally ringed then I will publish them on the Recoveries & Controls page. The ring looked shiny and new so presumably it was ringed recently. The breezy conditions resulted in a smallish catch of common migrants including my first acrocephalus warblers of 2009. Thanks to Shaun Robson for helping out.

Common Whitethroat at HHC Kevin Sayer

April 12th
A firecrest was the highlight of a chilly and drizzly morning's ringing at Solent Meads. A handful of common migrants were also trapped. A willow warbler originally ringed at the same site last May decided to make a return appearance. Totals were: 1 firecrest,2 whitethroats,1 blackcap,2 chiffchaffs,2 willow warblers,4 wrens,1 dunnock,1 song thrush,1 blackbird,5 long-tailed tits,1 great tit,1 blue tit and 2 greenfinches.

Male Firecrest at Solent Meads Kevin Sayer
The black blob on the upper mandible is encrusted pollen - quite common on passerines these days.

April 8th
The Portland Bird Observatory website for today has some excellent photos and details on the differences between Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs. These 2 species cause confusion among many trainee ringers - here you get some excellent advice on how to tell these species apart - see here .

April 1st
Our first major visit this year to the HHC site resulted in a reasonable catch of 18 birds: 1 blackcap,1 chiffchaff,1 cetti's warbler,4 dunnocks,2 greenfinches,3 blue tits,2 great tits,1 wren,2 blackbirds and a single robin. The light north-easterly probably held-up any movement of spring migrants.

Female Backcap at HHC Kevin Sayer
Cetti's Warbler at HHC Kevin Sayer
Dunnock at HHC Kevin Sayer

March 31st
The BTO have now confirmed my Trainer's Endorsement and I can officially take on trainee ringers. Anybody who would like to commence training can contact me here .

March 20th
An attempt was made for some Pied Wagtails in the HHC reedbed tonight. The only success was a retrap blackbird.

March 19th
The first day of Spring Ringing down at Solent Meads resulted in 20 birds with only 4 retraps. We welcomed some new ringers for the first time; welcome to Carol,Annalea and David who we hope to see again in the near future. Thanks for your efforts. Not surprisingly 4 chiffchaffs were caught along with 5 greenfinches,3 dunnocks,2 long-tailed tits,4 great tits,a blue tit and a song thrush.

Chiffchaff at Solent Meads Kevin Sayer

Greenfinch - 2nd year female Kevin Sayer

Song Thrush Kevin Sayer

March 1st
We have now calculated our ringing totals for 2008. We managed 1,252 newly-ringed birds of 39 species, the highest since 1989. The Barred and Yellow-browed Warblers, trapped during the autumn, were our third of each.

February 27th
We have now been given the go-ahead for a Constant Effort Site (CES) by the BTO in the Nursery. This involves using the same nets in the same place for 12 sessions from May thru' till August. See bto-ces for further information.

February 24th
A try was made for both Rock Pipits and Dartford Warblers on Hengistbury. After an exhaustive search over Long Field and Warren Hill no Dartfords could be located. However, a pair of Rock Pipits were found feeding near to the cliff-top at the Quarry Pond. Neither of these birds were caught, probably due to the high visibility of the net against the sky. A re-think of tactics is called for here - either I will have to use a single-shelf net or a super-fine net.